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Is Online Counseling for Teens and Young Adults Effective?

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Young adults and teenagers are part of today’s digital age. Indeed, one study showed that an average American teenager spent just eight hours per day online. A rise in the use of screens from an observational study is in line with a different trend: the growing popularity of virtual therapy and online counseling. If you’re worried about the mental health of your child studies show that counseling can be beneficial. But are virtual counseling as efficient as in-person therapy?

Why you should try online counseling

Children suffer from mental health issues and mental illness as never before. In the past 10 years scientists have observed an increase in anxiety, depression, stress, self-esteem issues as well as other mental health issues among young adults and teens. The issue has only grown as of the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, as per the U.S. surgeon general’s report published in December 2021 depression symptoms have increased by two-fold during the epidemic, and 25% of teenagers suffering from the symptoms.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declares that having access to therapy early on services and other types of mental health treatments can help improve your child’s health and wellbeing. However, getting your child to see a counselor may be a challenge:

The integration of a appointment with a therapist in your child’s already hectic middle school or high school, college or job schedule could result in an increase in anxiety and stress.
A young adult or teen might feel awkward, uncomfortable or even embarrassed to visit a therapist in person.

Your child’s life is likely already completely ensconced in the digital world that includes video games, as well as the internet, counseling online offers an additional option

Your child will have more freedom regarding appointments and times especially if the service come with a mobile application.
Online counseling can be more familiar to teenagers and young adults who are accustomed to communicating with others via the Internet.

The advantages of online counseling for Young Adults and Teens

“Everyone has different levels of difficulties,” said Alec Dorman the chief of staff at Embark Behavioral Health. “Virtual counseling for teenagers and young adults can be a great way to gain more support and help by people who have committed their lives to helping those in these groups.”

Two major advantages of virtual counseling:

1. Online counseling can be beneficial in addressing mental health issues

Therapists have always offered alternatives like telehealth programs and text messages to their clients, however the widespread use of smartphones and tablets has elevated this field to an entirely new level. While there may be a screen in between the counselor and a teenager or young adult research studies have proven that it’s not a big deal as often as you believe.

According to an analysis of 2018 of several research studies that were published by the Journal of Anxiety Disorders, the cognitive behavioral therapy offered over the Internet for those aged 18 or older who suffer from depression or anxiety is highly effective, with people receiving it achieving high levels of satisfaction.

2. Online counseling is easier to access for young adults and teens

Online counseling can be conducted anytime , any time, from anywhere. This makes online counseling ideal for your child

Living in rural areas or is far from a counselor or therapist who is specialized in their specific requirements or issues.
Have physical or mobility limitations which make it difficult to visit a therapist’s clinic.
Are you suffering from an issue with mental health like a phobia or social anxiety that can make meeting people in person difficult and stressful.

“This is a method to reach out to a wider population of people who are in need or contemplating therapies,” Dorman said. “That’s everybody’s goal.”
How to find Virtual Teens and Young Adults Counseling Strategies and Tips to be Successful

Digital therapy can transform your child as well as other family members, however not every therapist provides this kind of therapy. If you’re looking for the most effective online counseling this is the essential information you need to be aware of.

1. Be aware of ethical or legal questions

Therapists and counselors licensed by the state whom you can find through the Psychology Today website — are required to follow strict guidelines for sharing dangerous situations (e.g. when an teen or young adult experiences suicidal thoughts or self-harm) as well as keeping confidentiality and anonymity.

It’s important to note that it’s worth noting that the American Psychological Association has advised that therapists do their due diligence before forming partnerships with online counseling platforms. Also, ensure that their privacy and reporting policies are clear and in line with the law. It is also advisable to review the policy of each platform on parental consent.

2. Make a move towards online counseling using video as opposed to. making phone calls or texts

Body communication is powerful and can inform the online counselor lots about what a teenager or young adult experiencing. While check-ins via text messages or phone calls may be helpful, it is a good idea to encourage your child to join an online video chat to their counsellor. In a secure space the ability to observe body language provides mental health professionals an overall view of the well-being of your child.

3. Do your own research about the background of the therapist

It’s simple to join the virtual counseling sessions at the touch of a button, doesn’t mean that you should approach the process of vetting more lightly. If you choose to use an online platform for counseling make sure you do your research about:

How does your child get assigned to one of the platform’s therapists.
The cost of individual therapy sessions as well as subscription costs.
Different types of modalities (e.g. cognitive behavior therapy or psychodynamic behavior therapy) to address particular factors that cause stress.
The technology or the apps needed for the platform.
The reviews of the user are left by patients.

If you’re interested in booking one-on one virtual therapy with a particular person in your area you should contact your state’s governing body , or oversight agency to locate the counselor who’s licensed and is in good standing.

4. Don’t be afraid of mixing things with a twist

A teenager or young adult must feel secure and at ease with the counselor or therapist who they consult on the internet. Keep track of your child after the first few sessions with a therapist have been completed. If there’s a personality conflict or the way the therapist conducts their sessions does not feel right for your child, you should be willing to find a different counselor. Online counseling is a great option for changing therapists is easy and fast.

Closing Thoughts

Virtual counseling is an efficient, practical alternative for adolescents or young adults seeking for ways to enhance their psychological well-being. Although your child might prefer to attend in person sessions but the versatility and accessibility of online mental health therapy for teens makes it a worthwhile option particularly during the stress of COVID-19 epidemic.